This article is going to focus on how you can BEST PREPARE yourself for the position of firefighter. Remember that the competition if very tough and you have to be able to show why you are the best candidate for the position. 3,000 people competing for 10 positions don't leave you with many margins for error. Think of the process of becoming a firefighter as survival of the fittest (or best prepared).
There are many ways you can prepare yourself to become a firefighter. Remember that you want to be UNIQUE in a positive way. You are truly competing against yourself, not the other candidates. The more you can prepare yourself, the better chance you stand at getting that badge! People ask me what classes to take to become a firefighter. My answer is that there is no "cookie-cutter" way to become a firefighter. What works for one person, might not work for you.
Many students just want to get the bare minimum, which I feel is an EMT certificate, a firefighter 1 academy certificate, and maybe a certificate of achievement in Fire Technology. Many just finish the academy and don't bother to complete the remaining three or four classes for their certificate of achievement. All of those qualifications should not be your stopping point; they are actually your starting point!
Why is that? Because look around at the competition. It seems like everyone has an EMT certificate, a firefighter 1 academy certificate, some fire technology classes, etc. Do departments require all of those things to take the test? Some do, some don't. Some require EMT certification or Paramedic licensure to take the test (bare minimum requirements). Some require one or both of those plus a firefighter 1 academy or firefighter 1 certificate. Some just require you to be 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. Think about it - if everyone has the bare minimum requirements or a notch above the bare minimum, what is going to separate you from them? WHAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE COMPARED TO EVERYONE ELSE?